MTN Group announced on Wednesday that it had lost 1,7 million customers in the quarter ended 31 March 2021 hit by new SIM registration regulations in Nigeria. The company said excluding the Nigeria subscribers were up 3.4 million. MTN now has 277.9 million subscribers.

On Monday, MTN Nigeria announced that its subscribers dropped by 5 million to 71.5 million due to the effects of customer churn and the regulatory restrictions on new SIM sales and activations.

Last December, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) announced that the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) directed the NCC to embark on another audit of the Subscriber Registration Database again.

The regulator directed telecoms firms to stop selling SIM cards while it audits compliance with SIM registration rules. For more read: Regulatory Restrictions On New SIM Sales Bite Into MTN Nigeria Subscribers

The company also informed investors that active data subscribers increased by 1.3 million to 115.6 million.

While active MTN Mobile Money (MoMo) customers rose by 200 000 to 46.6 million.

The MoMo value of transactions was up 86.6% year-on-year (YOY) to $53.2 billion (R764 billion).

The company said the number of active merchants accepting MoMo payments doubled YoY to 521 000 while the total value of MoMo merchant payment (gross merchandise value –
GMV) rose by 299.2% to $4.8 billion (R57 billion). In Nigeria, MTN said it added
54 000 agents to end the quarter with 449 146 registered MoMo agents.

“The MTN Group has delivered a solid Q1 2021 trading performance, with service revenue and EBITDA margins expanding on the back of continued commercial momentum and resilient networks,” said MTN CEO Ralph Mupita, adding that the Group’s Ambition 2025 strategy had gained execution traction during challenging COVID-19 macroeconomic conditions in the quarter.

The group service revenue, which excludes device and SIM card revenue, rose by 17.8% and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation ( EBITDA) was up by 21.3%.

“The overall Group results were supported by double-digit service revenue growth from our large operations and continued focus on our expense efficiency programme. We are encouraged in particular by the strong performance of MTN South Africa, as well as accelerating data and fintech services across the group in the period,” he said.

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